Cocktail Party Attire: The Official Do’s & Don’ts

Cocktail Party Attire: The Official Do’s & Don’ts

January 13, 2022
By The gr0 Team

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Cocktail parties never go out of style. Accepting an invitation to one should mean you’re expecting a night of mingling and delicious apps and drinks. But don’t forget the most important part of the evening: your clothing! While there is never a bad time to attend a cocktail party, it is a bad time to commit a fashion faux pas when it comes to the dress code.

Queenly is here to provide you with a few of the simple do’s and don’ts to ensure you are the best-dressed guest on the list. These steps are sure to make you feel good about your style choices and ensure that your host will have your address on their invites for years to come.

Don’t: Go Too Casual

Yes, this does mean that dressing to some degree is vital. We aren’t saying that you can’t wear jeans, because we do understand that there are ways to dress up jeans when paired with the right tops and heels. However, if there was ever a time that your standby jeans and a t-shirt weren’t appropriate, this is that time.

Do: Mix and Match Your Staples

You might be dead set on the jeans. So, like we said, if you are going that route, you NEED to make sure that your heels are amazing, your jeans are fitted, and that your top is to die for to fit a cocktail dress code. Think Kendall Jenner, who loves to wear jeans, but always makes sure to step up her accessories so she’s not out of place at a semi-formal party.

Can’t leave home in anything but your favorite rocker tee? Try tying that around your waist and matching it with a high-waisted skirt. Or tuck it into an edgy A-line mini skirt with some animal print heels. This screams fun and is just funky enough to be the trendsetting outfit at the party. Kerry Washington is a great celeb to channel for these looks; she is the queen of pairing t-shirts with skirts and pumps for a rocker chic look.

We recommend looking into some fashionable two-piece sets for a look like this. Something where you can mix and match the set with some of your favorite closet staples but still have the coordinating set when you’re in the mood.

Try these staple two-piece sets!

Don’t: Wear a Ball Gown

Ball gowns never go out of style, but they aren’t appropriate for a cocktail party. They’re a bit too formal for this event, if that is ever a thing, and you will feel a little out of place looking like Cinderella here. Plus, many times the event space for cocktail parties is a more intimate setting, and a ball gown will probably have you bumping into everyone and make it really hard to mingle.

Do: Try a Midi

If you are in the mood for a dress with a little something more, then try an A-line midi dress. It’ll give you style and movement in the venue, but won’t be so formal that you look like you got the address for your party wrong. A-lines with shapely, tight-fitting bodices are trending right now so the possibilities for this look are endless.

Celebrities from Eva Mendes to Zendaya are huge fans of this style, so you can rest assured that you are in very good fashionable standing with this below-the-knee cut. We love the fiery looks from Mac Duggal. Buying from a seller on our app means that you found a gown at a great price, so why not use your style ingenuity and take it to a tailor to get it taken up a few inches. You’ll get the movement you’re hoping for but not be overdressed.

Volume might not be your thing, and we are ready to go with another option just for you: the midi slip dress. Slip dresses are everywhere right now, which means finding the right color and style for you should be a cinch. They are simple and so chic; they are at home at a cocktail party and can be dressed up, or down, for whatever the occasion and theme of the evening may be.

A black dress is an amazing choice and we think it would be the perfect one for a cocktail party in any season and in any setting. And, as we’ve said before, the LBD never goes out of style and should be a staple item in your closet!

Check out these cocktail party-ready midi-dresses:

Don’t: Show Everything You’re Working With

We know we said cocktail parties called for shorter dresses like the classic little black dress, but we don’t mean show everything. Barely there outfits definitely call for balance, so be sure to keep some mystery.

One of the worst style sins you can commit is being underdressed, but another one is not being dressed at all. Be sure that whatever you decide on is mixed with shoes and accessories that hide a little of that figure that mama gave you.

Do: Pick Your Best Side and Show That Off

We understand the want to be a little sexy for a cocktail party, and we agree. It’s the perfect opportunity for your sultry side to come out and play, but again, it’s all about the balance. If you like a little more skin showing, we recommend picking one of the top three areas to show off: neck, back, or legs. These are appropriate revealing qualities, but pick one, not all three.

Backless dresses are a great look for a cocktail party. They reveal skin but in a really feminine way and it’s a style feature that not everyone will see. Imagine finding someone really cute to flirt with at the party, and walking away at the precise moment to not only keep them wanting more of your time, but also showing off that gorgeous feature of your dress, and your body that you so casually put on display for this event. We love this journey for you.

Celebs like Halle Berry and Anne Hathaway are style icons for the backless dress. If you’ll notice, they always show it off for the camera in paparazzi pictures, so be sure to wear the style with confidence and keep those shoulders back!

Your back might not feel like your best side, and that’s ok. Instead of showing off your back, try a dress with a little lower-cut neckline. Plunge dresses never go out of style, and many are now even made with a nude or sheer netting fabric sewn into the plunge so you have a little more structure and support.

Be sure that if you do pick a plunging neckline that your dress also offers a bit more fabric on the leg and back; it’s important to make sure that if you are showing more skin up top that you leave more of your skin covered in other areas. The key is sexy, not scandal, so we recommend getting inspiration from the likes of Dakota Johnson. She is always killing it on the red carpet and loves a low-cut dress.

If your best asset is your legs, then we highly recommend a mini dress. They are totally trending right now, and in ways that give your legs all the attention while revealing little to nothing up top. We love a ruched hemline look, or something with a long-sleeve detail that leaves more to the imagination but still hugs your body in all the right places and with your legs being bare you look tall, no matter what you measure. You can also play with textures like lace and sequins.

Heidi Klum loves a mini dress with higher necklines and sleeves. Yes, we know she is naturally on the taller side, but with only her legs on display she looks even longer and the style comes off so sophisticated that we can’t help but want to dress just like her. She wore a metallic mini to an awards show one year and this is the perfect cut and style for this type of fabric. Gets you noticed but for all the right reasons.

Show off your best side with these super flattering dresses:

Don’t: Bring Every Accessory in Your Arsenal

While we could hear arguments for why you wore ALL the necklaces you own with cocktail outfits, we don’t recommend this for a cocktail event. Even though you need to dress up for a cocktail event, it does still ring true that less is more in this instance. You might have all the sparkly options but that doesn’t mean that they all need to come with you tonight.

On the flip side, we also seriously suggest that you leave the oversized bag that you take on long weekend shopping trips at home. A large bag in a sleek, black tie cocktail party is clunky and heavy and really should be left at home. Cocktail parties are sleek and sophisticated events and should be treated as such. It might be great for carrying all of your things, but how many of those do you really need on a night out?

Do: Choose Your Statement Pieces Carefully

We repeat: less is more at a cocktail party. Your dress and accessories call for a more understated silhouette at a cocktail event and here’s why: cocktails parties are all about the mystery. A party of this manner means that you need to stand out for what you didn’t bring as much as what you did. So if you are attending a fabulous soiree, then make sure to match ONE perfect statement accessory to your outfit, and rock it all night.

Similarly, pair our perfect ensemble with a clutch purse, and not your weekender. A clutch is a much better, understated yet sophisticated look perfect for the event you’re attending.

Time To Mingle

We hope these simple cocktail party do’s and don’ts help you pick the perfect outfit for your party. These tips are perfect to guide you in the right direction for a fabulous fit to match your elegant event. Party on girl!

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